At the tail end of the nineteenth century, electricity was starting to have a profound effect on the world. As dramatized in the excellent novel The Last Days of Night, and shortly in the forthcoming film The Current War, Thomas Edison battled with George Westinghouse (the latter aided by Croatian genius/madman Nikola Tesla) for control over the burgeoning market for electricity generation and supply. The popular symbol of the electrical revolution is of course Edison’s famous light bulb, but perhaps almost more important was the humble electric motor.
Garry Kasparov will forever be remembered as perhaps the greatest chess player of all time, dominating the game for almost twenty years until his retirement in 2005. But ironically he may be best remembered for the match he failed to win twenty years ago in 1997 against IBM’s Deep Blue chess computer. That watershed moment – marking the point at which computers effectively surpassed humans in chess-playing ability – prompted much speculation and hand-wringing about the coming obsolescence of the human brain, now that a mere computer had been able to beat the best chess grandmaster in the world.
Your company has a Marketing Strategy, right? It’s that set of 102 slides presented by the CMO at the offsite last quarter, immediately after lunch on the second day, the session you may have nodded off in (it’s ok, nobody noticed. Probably). It was the one that talked about customer personas and brand positioning and … Read more
As the final season of Mad Men came to a close this weekend, one of my favorite memories from Season 7 is the appearance of the IBM 360 mainframe in the Sterling Cooper & Partners offices, much to the chagrin of the creative team (whose lounge was removed to make space for the beast), especially … Read more
It’s that time of year again. The nights are drawing in, snow is starting to fall in the mountains, our minds turn to thoughts of turkey and Christmas pudding, and familiar faces appear: Santa, Len and Bruno, and of course, Jimmy Wales. If you are a user of Wikipedia (which, if you’re a user of … Read more
One of the topics that we didn’t get quite enough time to cover in detail in my face-off with Avinash Kaushik at last week’s eMetrics Summit (of which more in another post) was the thorny issue of conversion attribution. When I asked Avinash about it, he made the sensible point that trying to correctly “attribute” … Read more
Outdoor advertising has not exactly been at the cutting edge of innovation in recent years, at least not in terms of broadening access to smaller advertisers. Whilst radio, TV and print advertising has been becoming easier to get into on a limited budget, getting your ad on a 96-sheet on the Cromwell Road has been … Read more
There’s a very interesting article in The Atlantic from Nicholas Carr in which he argues that the information delivery model of the web (and, in particular, the search engine model) is robbing us of our ability to read and digest information, and consequently affecting the very way we think. Whether this turns out to be … Read more
When you spend as much time as I do examining the workings of the online ad industry, it’s easy to forget that, to many people, it really is pretty opaque. Not only is it characterized by some of the most complex and scalable technology in the world, but it also has its own, pretty unique, … Read more
As anyone who has spent any time in the UK will know, the BBC is a safe haven from that most grubby of industries, advertising. It’s enshrined in the BBC’s charter. But the BBC’s ban on advertising only applies to the UK (where anyone who owns a TV has to pay a $300 licence fee … Read more